Champs are ready to defend titles

Ted Harbin
Dodge City Roundup Rodeo Media Director

There were 12 people who left the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo as its champions last year, but none were happier than Blake Deckard.

Deckard earned money in both tie-down roping and steer roping to claim the all-around title, the most prized trophy of all earned inside Roundup Arena last August. He will return for this year’s event – set for 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 4-Sunday, Aug. 8, at Roundup Arena; Dodge City Xtreme Bulls is set for 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 3 – to defend that title and maybe claim a couple more if everything works out just right.

“It seems like all the guys I’ve looked up to had a Dodge City buckle, and I was always wanting one,” said Deckard, 32, of Eufaula, Oklahoma. “Trevor (Brazile) and Roy (Cooper) have Dodge City buckles, and this just fell in my lap. I was lucky enough that it went my way. I placed in the average in steer roping and placed in the short round and the average in calf roping.”

It was a big thrill, but he wants to add to it. Just last week, he won the second round at the Cheyenne (Wyoming) Frontier Days Rodeo, and he’ll carry a bit of momentum with him when he arrives in southwest Kansas this week.

More importantly, though, he’ll be wearing the stylish trophy buckle that he earned in Dodge City, with its shiny metal and bright, red rubies. One of the coolest aspects of his winning the buckle was that he had someone special with him on the trip.

“My dad got to go with me, and he doesn’t get to go with me much,” Deckard said. “He got to go back to the short round, so it was pretty neat to have him with me for that win.

“The all-around championship means so much to me. Ever since I was a little kid, I loved winning the all around because all of my heroes like Trevor and Roy were all-around champions. Single-event titles are awesome, but the all-around is really earned.”

Deckard earned qualifications to the Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo in both steer roping and tie-down roping in 2020, and he’d like to do so again. He’d also love to claim either or both of those titles in Dodge City, especially since it’s the largest rodeo in the circuit, a region made up of contestants and events primarily in Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska.

“Three years ago, I broke the barrier to win the steer roping average,” Deckard said. “I called Roy, and he told me, ‘Don’t ever let the barrier be a factor in steer roping.’ It was a lessoned learned.”

And the Roundup buckle is a trophy earned. He was joined in the winner’s circle last August by bareback rider Orin Larsen, steer wrestler Dalton Massey, headers Jeff Flenniken and Nick Sartain, heelers Tyler Worley and Blaine Vick, saddle bronc rider Ryder Wright, tie-down roper Ty Harris, barrel racer BryAnna Haluptzok, steer roper Cole Patterson and bull rider Roscoe Jarboe.

“This rodeo is awesome,” said Wright, the reigning and two-time world champion from Milford, Utah. “The horses here are awesome.

“This has been on my bucket list. You’ve got to win rodeos like this to win that gold buckle, so it’s nice to win the big ones.”